Bonnie Mae Beattie Obituary

Bonnie Mae  Beattie
Bonnie Beattie
Bonnie Mae Beattie

May 20, 1944 - July 16, 2021
Born in Bellevue, NE
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Bonnie Mae Beattie passed away on Friday, July 16, 2021 at Wesley Acres. She was born May 20, 1944 in Bellevue, Nebraska to Clara and Zellis “Zip” Zeller. She was the family’s blonde tomboy who liked to climb trees and catch butterflies, in contrast to big sister Nancy who was brunette and bookish. Bonnie could find four-leaf clovers by the dozens and zoomed through jig-saw puzzles.

In 1950 the family uprooted to Des Moines on 57th St. Place. That summer they added twin sons John and Jim to the family, who were spoiled by their doting sisters. The whole bunch went to Windsor Grade School, with the girls spending junior and senior high at Roosevelt where Nancy had good scores and Bonnie had scores of good friends, swimming with the Sharks, serving as one of three Roosevelt Drake Relays Princesses and graduating in 1962.

Bonnie eagerly jetted off into adulthood in her Corvair convertible to her first job as “mail girl” at Equitable of Iowa. Soon after, she had the moxie to take the elevator to the office of President Hubbell to complain she wasn’t getting enough to do and, frankly, that didn’t seem like a good way to run a company! That was the start of her 37-year career with Equitable, eventually rising to head of conventions and travel.

She was shrewd at navigating the male-dominated “Mad Men” business climate of the time. Instead of diving into a fight, she calmly practiced the Socratic Method, oh-so curious as to your method of logic. (She always followed Clara’s advice; when Bonnie wanted a new dress for a dance, Mom said, “Just tell the other girls how pretty they are in their dresses, and you’ll be the most popular girl there.”)

Bonnie soon noticed the company's star salesman, John Beattie —- buttoned-down at work but the life of the party after hours. They giggled through their wedding vows in 1969. They spent the next fifty-two years together, golfing, traveling, gambling in Vegas, along with the usual drinking and dining at Gino’s with John’s longtime Highland Park buddies They built a home on Park Avenue, where they entertained their new South-Side friends, advising: “Invite Italians, they bring food!”

In retirement, Bonnie and John spent winters golfing in Indian Wells, California, where they attracted a colorful and diverse collection of desert friends. With all this property came repairs, and Bonnie became handy with tools —- the power-washer was her favorite possession. She loved to decorate (powder blue and white) and wove Navajo-style baskets. While watching TV, she crocheted eight-hundred pink and blue baby blankets for Broadlawns’ babies. She experimented and made a few in green and also purple —- no takers!

After John’s death two years ago, Bonnie moved across Park Avenue to a Sioux Court townhouse where she enjoyed a new batch of interesting neighbors.

She is survived by step-son Brad Beattie and her twin brothers John and Jim Zeller, all of Des Moines.

Finally, Bonnie loved dogs and they loved her back. Her little cocker-spaniel “Dinah” rousted her awake at 4 a.m. on December 11, 1961. The house was on fire! Dinah saved Bonnie and Bonnie saved the rest of us. A contribution to The Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Bonnie’s name (or Dinah’s) would be appreciated.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 2 - 4 p.m. Sunday, August 8, at Mainframe Studios, 900 Keosauqua Way, Des Moines. (Access to Parking at 10th/Center Streets). Online condolences will be welcomed at